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Rules and Regulations

This page contains rules and regulation pertaining to the project exhibit, safety and the written report. Please read carefully before planning your project and beginning the construction of your exhibit.

NOTE: If your project involves human subjects, they must fill in a consent form otherwise the project will be disqualified. The form should list what the participant will be required to do and explain any possible risks. Be sure to verify that your project does not violate the strict guidelines on participation by humans or animals.

STEM Projects and COVID-19

We enter the current STEM fair season during the highest infection rates recorded in Canada. All STEM fair projects must adhere to the safety standards in place in their province and municipality to support the health and safety of all participants, including the youth carrying out the project. All local COVID-19 protocols must be followed in detail. Projects that fail to observe COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time they are carried out are ineligible to participate in STEM fairs. It is the responsibility of the region to determine whether this is the case.

All students working on STEM fair projects are encouraged to find alternatives to using human participants where possible.

National Ethics & Safety Committee
Youth Science Canada

USEFUL SAFETY & ETHICS DOCUMENTS

Go to the Useful Links/Ethics page for the following forms:
(1) Consent Form for human participants – Options: (1) Editable form; (2) Blank printable form; (3) Filled-in example
(2) Request for Ethics Ruling form


Online Presentation Guidelines

In 2022 the judging will be via a video link. You will have submitted a Registration Package that included a 5-page summary of your project. The judges will have seen this report. To prepare for your oral presentation and the questions from the judges you must do the following:

  • Ensure that you have a reliable network connection using a COMPUTER – desktop or laptop are acceptable. The platform that will be used is NOT COMPATIBLE with tablets or mobile devices. Make sure that your microphone is working and the video is operational. A second video connection (to perhaps show your project) is optional.
  • You should prepare a slide presentation to describe your project
    • Slides must be prepared using Google Sheets or Microsoft Powerpoint
    • The maximum number of slides allowed for presentation is 30
    • The minimum point size for the text on the slides is 24-point. Titles should be 28-point.
    • The maximum length of the presentation is 15 minutes.
    • A slide with references can be in 12-point (do not expect the judges to read it)
    • Know how to display your slides “full Screen”
  • If you are well-organized you may be able to refer back to particular slides (or ones not in your presentation) to answer questions
  • If you include figures, all axis labels and any text in the figures must be readable

Useful Hints for Slide Preparation

Do not put large blocks to text on your slides. A judge will not be able to read them and pick out the essential points.

  • A sans serif font is generally more readable – calibri, ariel, comic sans
  •  Make use of Bullets to make important points stand out. Good and Bad examples are shown below.
  • Do not try to put too much material on a slide – less is more! Clarity is the goal

Text Example

These slides use 28-point for titles, Comic Sans font. Blue is 24-point.
Even with large font size the text in paragraph format (LHS) is hard to read and identify the main points. The slide on the RHS is much clearer and a viewer can quickly scan through it. This is about the maximum amount of material you should put on a slide. Could you improve it more?

Text example

Figure Example

The FIRST rule: everything in a figure must be readable. This slide shows some options for displaying a figure.  The original from a Serway Physics text had the following:

  • Only the curves were inside the box
  • Some colour in the box was used to separate it from the slide background
  • Tick lines extend from each axis – this makes it easier to interpret the curves
    Do not use too many ticks/labels. You do not have to label every tick
  • Curve descriptions were off to the right side
  • Axis labels
    – horizontal label is to the right at the level of the axis
    – Vertical label is above the graph to the left.
  • Numerical values are at selected tick marks along each axis
  • For the figure the font size for the labels and numbers is 16-18 point. This is acceptable for a figure displayed at this size on a slide.

If you include a Figure Caption, make it in a larger font size than the axis labels. On this figure 18-20 pt would be OK.

A different option for displaying the labels/descriptions is shown. Curve labels are put inside the box and the axis labels are beside the axes. The axis information is still clear but arguably the curve labels are a bit too small.

To show how font size displays at different sizes on a slide examples from 12 pt to 28 pt are shown. Also you can see the difference between the Times font (serif) and Arial font (sans-serif). Plus there is a reminder to always check your spelling. (Serif fonts have little embellishments at the tips of the letters).

Figure example

Safety Regulations

Teacher sponsors are responsible for ensuring the safety of the exhibits and the appropriateness of the experimentation that is conducted by the student. See the Youth Science Foundation Ethics Guidelines ( http://www.youthscience.ca/node/835 ) for human participation and the use of animals in science fair projects. Check also the ethics links on the USEFUL LINKS page. The following is a summary of pertinent rules and regulations regarding science fair project exhibits. The VIRSF committee has the complete authority to request that the exhibit not be activated during the fair, and if necessary may demand the withdrawal of an entry from the fair.

Fire Safety
  • Fire hazardous materials shall not be displayed with the exhibit.
  • No open flames or other heating devices are allowed at the exhibit.
Chemical Safety
  • If projects involved chemicals that may be harmful if spilled or tampered with (including prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication), then the display should use harmless substitutes in sealed containers or photographs of the material for display purposes only.
  • Simulated chemicals can be used for display purposes such as table salt to represent a drug, water to represent alcohol, or molasses to simulate a petroleum product. In such cases they should be preceded by the word “simulated” with the actual contents indicated. Again, exhibitors do not have to actually do their projects for the judges; they only have to report on it.
Electrical Safety
  • All electrical live parts must be safely contained.
  • All homemade devices need proper grounding with a three-prong plug.
  • X-ray equipment or any other equipment capable of emitting high energy radiation should not be operated.
  • Projects involving voltages above 10kV should be considered to pose a potential hazard.
  • Lasers may not be operated during public viewing times.
Animal Experimentation
  • Live vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians) will not be displayed in the Fair.
  • The only parts of vertebrate animals that may be presented are those that are naturally shed or parts that are properly preserved. Examples are snake skin, hair samples, and skeletons.
  • The results of experiments conducted on living vertebrates may be displayed, providing the animal care form of the registration is completed and the teacher sponsor recognizes that he/she is solely responsible for ensuring all humanitarian considerations have been applied during the work.
  • No experiments deleterious to the health or physical integrity of the animals may be carried out. Chick embryo studies that involve external intervention with drugs or other chemicals may not be made.
  • Detailed copies of the animal care rules may be obtained from the Fair Chairperson, or by contacting your local chapter of the SPCA for general humane treatment guidelines.
Microorganisms / Bio-Hazards / Drugs
  • The following hazardous biological materials may not be displayed:
    • Radioisotopes at activities above normal.
    • Biological toxins
    • Microorganism cultures
    • Cells or tissues infected with viruses
    • Cells or tissues including blood, except on sealed microscope slides which can be displayed.
    • Human body fluids (blood, urine, saliva, etc.)
    • Open containers of any organic matter (i.e. food)
    • Illegal or street drugs are prohibited
Human Subjects
  • If your exhibit involves the use of volunteer human subjects in any manner (collection of information, physical testing, questionnaires, etc.) then you must obtain their prior permission, explaining fully what you will expect of them and how you will use the results of the tests. You must also present the results in such a way that the individual’s privacy is guaranteed. No experiments, which may be deleterious to the health or physical integrity of the subjects, may be carried out.

Written Report

One copy of the summary report is to be included with the Regional Science Fair registration forms. Mail an electronic PDF version along with the other Registration Package documents to rrmarx@uvic.ca

Requirements for the report:

  • A written summary of the project intended to present a brief overview of the project and not be comprehensive.
  • Must be written by the student
  • Cannot exceed five (5) pages
  • Paper size = 22 × 28 cm size (approx. 8.5 × 11 in), double-spaced, 12 pt font, typewritten on one side only (or the handwritten equivalent thereof) including all graphs, diagrams, etc. Reports in excess of this limit will be penalised.

Use a simple format including:

  • COVER PAGE (This is a change from previous instructions). Include project title, Student name(s), School Name on separate lines
    Please number all your pages. Student and school identifiers should only be on the cover page.
  • First page: At the top – include the project title only
    Pages 2-5: In the footer – include project title  only

CONTENT

  • Introduction – (stating the aims and objectives of the work)
  • Procedure – (a summary of the significant materials and methods used in the study)
  • Results – (a summary of the results/observations)
  • Conclusions – (a summary of the conclusions)
  • Acknowledgement – (acknowledging help received)

There is no need to include tables, graphs and raw data in the report. These items should be with the project.